May 15, 2012
The Denver Foundation Announces the First African American Men’s
Giving Circle in the Nation’s West
Some are mature and established; others are still in college. They are educators, businessmen, and blue collar workers; they are elected officials, musicians, and social service providers. A few are single; many are family men. While the forces of nature might have never brought together this eclectic group under any other circumstances, a love of community and a strong desire to give back to their own community has drawn over a dozen Denver-based African American men to form a giving circle, the first of its kind in this part of the country.
Calling themselves the Denver African American Philanthropists (DAAP), the men will formalize their commitmentpublicly on May 15 at The Denver Foundation’s Annual Celebration. The group has worked with the Foundation over the past several months to develop the fund, which will be housed at the Foundation, where their contributions will be pooled. They have also consulted with LaDawn Sullivan, Associate Program Officer for the Foundation‘s Strengthening Neighborhoods Program, among other staff, to develop a good working structure and to begin determining their long-term goals.
The Foundation administers well over 900 donor funds, but none are quite like this.
“We are heartened that these men have forged a bond in the interest of the community,” said David Miller, Presidentand CEO of The Denver Foundation. “We believe that philanthropy is not about wealth, it’s about giving, and we hope that more people will come to realize that each of us is capable of playing a role in shaping the community in avery significant way, and that The Denver Foundation is here to support each person’s philanthropic goals.”
Giving Circles are a burgeoning phenomenon, primarily on the East Coast and mostly comprised of female members at this time, but they are built on traditions dating back hundreds of years to mutual aid societies and other forms of community giving. Another example of an African American male giving circle is A Legacy of Tradition (ALOT).Established in 2006 and based in the Triangle area of North Carolina, its members are collectively engaged and focused on impacting and bridging the societal gaps faced by African-American males in the areas of education, collective giving, and community responsibility.
The spark for the Denver group began when Stephan Gater and Herman White, co-chairs of the giving circle, were connected to the Community Investment Network (CIN), a national network of giving circles and everyday philanthropists led by Executive Director Chad Jones.
The two participated in CIN’s Leadership Summit, at which giving circles from around the country gathered to share best practices and strategies. All have agreed that economic status should not be a barrier to involvement with the circle—there are no limits to the amount members can contribute to the pool, but the minimum expected is $365 a year.
“The greatest impact is achieved by selflessness,” says Herman White. “We are all driven by knowing that none of us achieve extraordinary feats alone. None of us is as strong as ALL of us.” (read more)